Are You in the “Sandwich Generation?"

Korey Knepper |

Without knowing it, you may be part of the so-called "sandwich generation." These are people who find themselves at the life stage in which they are caught between raising their own kids while watching their parents grow older. They are squeezed between responsibilities to care for parents and children at the same time. This care can take the form of money and capital or time and labor. All of these can have serious financial implications.

Add to this the fact that kids are staying at home longer. And people are living longer. This is the reality of many modern families. If it’s the reality for your family, it means the possibility of greater financial burdens for you, going forward.

But this reality doesn’t mean you should fear the future. You can set your own standards and determine your own future. You can discuss real issues with those who count. With the proper guidance, you can act, and you can cast a strong vision for your children. Let's explore how.

Determine Your Financial Values

It's never too late to take hold of your financial life and desired future, but the sooner you start, the better. While it's true that some people get off to an earlier, stronger start, with greater resources and success than others, the truth is that everyone can do something. And the first—and perhaps most influential—thing you can do is determine your own financial values.

So, what are financial values and why are they important?

Think of it like this.

What is most important to you when it comes to your family’s finances? Is it to feel secure against risk and free from anxiety? Is it simplicity and independence? What about the freedom to do what you want? Or do you desire the ability to be generous? Examples of financial values such as these show what is important to you—what is foremost in your thinking and decision-making processes. Once you are open and honest about them, these values will help shape your financial vision, goals, strategies, and behaviors.

Cast a Vision for Your Family

Will your kids attend college? If so, will they or you be able to afford it? Will your parents need long-term and end-of-life care? Have they made a will and plans for their estate? What about your own pension plans and retirement? How long will you need to keep working? These questions require you to formulate detailed answers and make proactive choices.

You've already thought about why financial values are important and what yours include. Now, you need to determine an overall vision for how you want to approach spending, debt, savings, and investments in your family. That means acquiring knowledge and information from trusted sources, such as your parents, for instance.

Gather Knowledge from Your Parents

As your parents get older, it can be a useful exercise to reflect on their financial values as they are likely to have influenced yours. You will probably uncover a mixture of values—some of which are worth adopting and others that you might want to avoid or adapt to your circumstances.

For example, let’s say your parents held strong values against accumulating debt and engaging in what they considered as wasteful spending. They only spent what they made, and saved any extra in a regular savings account. However, they showed little interest in investing their money, making long-term financial plans, or using a financial advisor to help plan and maximize any money they saved. So, while they have little to no debt, they may not be as prepared financially for their retirement years as they would have liked, and the house they live in is likely their only substantial asset.

Regardless of the mixed findings you may encounter, it's still healthy to have a conversation with your parents about their own experiences and finances. After all, the decisions they have made—and will make—might impact you. For example, if your parents have property or other investments, you might be expecting a significant inheritance. But, you need to be realistic as to how much you might actually receive, given their continued expenses, spending and withdrawal strategy in their retirement years.

Connect with a Financial Professional

Whenever you have medical questions, you talk with your doctor or medical specialist. When your car needs maintenance or repairs, you probably go to your trusted mechanic. It's wise—and can even be comforting—to connect with and seek the help of professionals. When it comes to your financial health and questions, remember that our line of communication is always open.

Getting professional financial advice is not just for high-net-worth individuals. We all face real-world pressures at every income level, and we all deserve to get personalized advice and tailored family financial strategies. The trusted advice you can garner from our ongoing relationship means you can explore in an informed way exactly where you are right now. Then, together, we can build a realistic vision and strategic plan for where you want to be.

Perhaps now more than ever, it’s important that we discuss your financial future and form a strategy that works for you. The more we discuss your options and prepare, the more confident you can feel about the future. When we work together on an ongoing basis, we can also modify your financial strategy as your circumstances change and you move through various life stages.

Help is at hand. All you need to do is reach out. Coincidentally, that’s a lesson we can learn from our children.

Share Age-appropriate Values with Your Kids

Just as you likely learned some lessons—good or bad—from watching your parents interact with money and tackle financial issues, your own kids will learn from you. Make sure the lessons they learn are good ones that help them form healthy financial habits and a healthy relationship with money. Avoid associating any financial discussions with pressure, negative emotions or unproductive habits.

Even young kids can learn lessons about money that are positive, age-appropriate and success-forming. For instance, at an age-appropriate level, you could explain to them the different types of bank accounts and their purposes, the value of saving for what you want, the need to think longer-term or why it makes sense to ask someone you trust for financial advice. By doing this, you can begin to pass on your values regarding financial responsibility and family leadership, even to young children. Building these strong, healthy financial values now should be a big help to them in later years as they follow in your footsteps or even as they forge new paths.

Contact the office today to make an appointment to discuss your financial values and how to build strategies for your family's financial well-being.

This material was developed and prepared by a third party for use by your Registered Representative. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information.